Being old-fashioned and brought up in “the olden days”, I find many of the touchy-squeely-offensive things that people get their knickers in a twist about, absolutely laughable. People have no sense of history. We live now, in a completely “victim” time. Offense-takers are victims. Fools actually.
I can’t be doing with fools. Some small education and a sense of history would make less victims. And less fools!
The other day I saw a Golliwogg selling at a vintage market – a real one from the forties! It was such a nice experience. I loved my Golliwogg. I didn’t notice it was a poor BLACK person. Golly was my FRIEND.
About Golliwoggs, now considered abominable things –
This transformation would have come as a shock to his 22-year-old creator, Florence Kate Upton, who struck upon the character that would make her name in 1895.
Stuck for a main character, her aunt, with whom she was staying in Hampstead, North London, found an old battered black-face rag doll in the attic.
As soon as Florence saw him, she knew she had found her protagonist. ‘As the Golliwogg has always seemed to me to be telling me his own biography, so in the same way he must have told me his own name,’ she later said.
‘I picked him up from the table in my studio, and without intention of naming him, without the idea of a name passing through my mind, I called him ‘Golliwogg’.’
It was a completely invented name and one that at the time had no negative connotations.
By 1894 the first story, The Adventures Of Two Dutch Dolls And A Golliwogg, was completed and was published the following year.
In this tale, the Golliwogg was initially described as ‘a horrid sight, the blackest gnome’, but turns out in fact to be good, loveable and brave, with a ‘kind face’.
Dressed in red trousers with white shirt and a blue coat, he proved an instant hit with the British public, and Florence and her mother Bertha (who wrote the words that accompanied the pictures) proceeded to publish a whole series of Golliwogg adventures.